Chapter 35 : Chapter 35: Gryffindor Vs Slytherin
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“Sean!” screamed Ginny. It was the night before their final Quidditch match of the season-the decider against Slytherin. Both teams were unbeaten-whoever won, won the cup. Ginny was determined she’d lift it, like Charlie, Fred, George, Ron and Harry all had managed to do in their time at Hogwarts.
But right now, her dream was crashing before her eyes. They’d been locking up the balls after practice, when a bludger had gotten free of its bindings. It had immediately shot out, smashing straight into Sean Bell’s, Gryffindor’s seeker, shoulder. From the crack, it sounded like the Bludger had broken it.
“Get him up to the hospital wing!” Ginny ordered Peakes and Cootes. “I’ll…I’ll finish up around here,” she finished lamely. She flopped onto the bench with a frustrated sigh, cradling her head in her hands. They’d been unable to find any reserve players at all that year-it was a sparse year for Quidditch that was for sure. If Sean’s injury was as bad as it sounded, he wouldn’t be playing tomorrow. And the last time Gryffindor had lost their seeker, way back in 1992 when Harry’d been adventuring, they’d suffered their worst defeat in three hundred years. Things, to be blunt, looked bad.
“Miss Weasley?” Ginny’s head snapped up so fast she hurt her neck.
“Professor McGonagall?” she said in surprise. “What’s going on?”
“I was in the hospital wing when Mr Cootes and Mr Peakes brought up Mr Bell,” she explained, sitting down next to Ginny. “Madam Pomfrey says he won’t be able to play tomorrow.” Ginny gave a groan of despair.
“Well,” she said sadly. “That’s it. We’re doomed.”
“Don’t give up,” replied Professor McGonagall, smiling. “I shall work on getting you a seeker. You concentrate on preparing your team for the match.” Ginny’s jaw dropped.
“Professor, I thought you were supposed to be impartial?”
“I am,” said Professor McGonagall absently. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t hold a grudge.” She winked, and strode out of the changing room. Shrugging, Ginny pulled off her quidditch robes, tied her hair back and headed up to the castle alone, her Nimbus slung over her shoulder.
“Any news?” asked Demezla, who was waiting for her in the common room.
“Sean can’t play,” Ginny said grimly. Demezla’s face fell. “But Professor McGonagall says she’s going to get us a new seeker by tomorrow.”
“How’s she going to manage that?” said Demezla blankly. Ginny shrugged. “And isn’t she supposed to be impartial anyway?”
“I said that,” Ginny replied, grinning. “She said that it doesn’t mean she can’t hold a grudge. No idea what she’s talking about, but there you go.”
“She was fouled in her final year playing against Slytherin,” Hermione said distantly, as usual buried nose deep in a book, this time a charms text book. “She’s always wanted to see Slytherin beaten since.”
“Ron’s right,” said Ginny, staring at her in amazement. “You do know everything.”
“Angelina told me,” Hermione explained. She closed her book. “I’m going to bed. Try and win tomorrow Ginny, I won’t be able to stand it if they win.” Hermione winked, and then disappeared up the stairs. Ginny shook her head.
“I don’t understand her at all,” commented David Banks, who’d plopped himself close to Demezla.
“None of us do,” Ginny replied.
Ginny was nervous. No, nervous wasn’t the word. Terrified was probably closer. It was one thing going into the final Quidditch match of the season, fighting for the cup, but it was a whole different kettle of fish being five minutes prior to the start of the game, and still no seeker.
“Maybe she couldn’t find anyone,” Demezla suggested miserably. “Ginny, you’ll have to play seeker…”
“That won’t be necessary,” said McGonagall calmly, sweeping into the changing room. “Your seeker is on his way now, I doubt he’ll be too long,” she said, unable to hide her smile. “Have a little faith, Miss Robins,” she added, causing Demezla to blush furiously.
“Not long at all, Professor,” said a familiar voice. The curtain was swept aside, and Harry entered the changing room, his Firebolt tucked under his arm. Ginny’s jaw almost hit the floor. “I have that effect on her,” he told the others knowledgably. “Will I do then, cap’n?” he said in a mock pirate accent, winking at her.
“…How?” Ginny stuttered weakly.
“Harry’s name was done for another year of school,” McGonagall explained. “Even though he chose not to come back, he was still eligible to play,” she explained.
“McGonagall flooed over last night and explained what happened,” Harry put in. “Ron asked if we could arrange for the keeper to have an accident.”
“He’s been looking like he might,” commented Jimmy Peakes, and the team laughed.
“So, I’ll ask again,” said Harry, moving close to Ginny, their noses almost touching. “Will I do?” She responded by throwing her arms around his neck, pulling him close and kissing him passionately. The team wolf whistled, and the couple both responded with rude hand gestures.
“Why captain, I do believe you’re flirting with your seeker,” Harry chuckled. Ginny rolled her eyes and stroked his chest softly.
“You’re lucky I’ve gone temporarily blind,” remarked McGonagall. “I shall be off. Good luck Gryffindor.” Harry turned back to Ginny; her eyes were blazing with the determination he loved so much. He kissed her again.
“Let’s do this,” she said fiercely. She led the team out proudly onto the pitch.
“And here are the teams!” called out Luna.
“Seriously?” Harry muttered.
“She’s entertaining,” Ginny reprimanded. Harry rolled his eyes.
“The line-up for Gryffindor is Weasley, who captains the side, Robins, Creevey, Banks, Peakes, Cootes and, replacing the injured Sean Bell, the one and only HARRY POTTER!” Harry groaned inwardly-like he needed more attention. There was a shocked silence for a moment, before the three quarters of the crowd dressed in scarlet and gold burst into loud, rampant cheers. The Slytherins, of course, booed as ever.
“And the line-up for Slytherin this time is Greengrass, who captains the side, Pritchard, Baddock, Blackstock, Kane, Miles and Harper!” Luna called out. Harry blinked in surprise-he’d never seen a girl on the Slytherin team, much less a captain. “I hope Gryffindor win, Slytherin really are nasty…”
“Miss Lovegood,” warned Professor McGonagall wearily.
“Yes Professor?” said Luna innocently. “Oooh, look. The captains are shaking hands.” Harry forced himself to stifle a laugh. He could see Ginny and Astoria Greengrass trying hard to break one another’s fingers. Rising into the air, he felt the familiar pumping sensation of adrenaline. Quidditch, even after all this time, still felt so natural. The bludgers shot into the air, hovering menacingly, while the snitch soared off, instantly invisible. Madam Hooch picked up the quaffle…
And the game was underway. Instantly, Harry shot above the crowd, scanning the ground for the elusive snitch. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Harper mirroring his every move, watching him more than looking out for the snitch.
Well, if that was how he wanted to play it.
Harry accelerated, streaking towards the Slytherin goals. He was satisfied to see Harper follow. Spinning around abruptly, he zoomed low across the ground, dodging a bludger with practised ease. Harper caught up with him a few moments later after he’d slowed down, once again high above the pitch. Harry winked cheekily at him, earning him a furious glance from Harper, before he streaked off again, searching for the snitch.
Meanwhile, Baddock and Pritchard, the two large Slytherin chasers, were preventing Gryffindor from using much of their attacking moves-Demezla already had a bloody nose from a poor tackle and Dennis Creevey was being so tightly marked by Pritchard that he was in danger of being thrown from his broom every time he tried to turn.
Ginny, on the other hand, had the beating of Astoria all ends up. Swinging herself from her broom, she kicked the quaffle out from under the Slytherin captain’s arm. Forcing the Nimbus back underneath her, she snatched the scarlet ball from the ground, sneaking forwards as Baddock broke off from marking Demezla to come and close off the route to the goal.
Ginny faked a pass to Demezla, causing Baddock to flap wildly in the air to try and intercept a pass that never came. She darted forwards, only Blackstock, the keeper, standing between her and the goal. She didn’t miss.
“Ten zero to Gryffindor!” Luna cried, for once sounding excited. “Good score by Ginny Weasley, still no sign of the snitch.” Ginny glanced up at Harry. He was circling slowly, Harper mimicking his every move. Every now and then, Harry would pull off a complicated manoeuvre with breath taking ease. Harper was hard pressed into following-he was starting to look exhausted. Harry, after being an Auror for almost a year, was fitter than he'd been in his life-frankly, this was easy.
Slytherin were attacking now. Baddock charged forwards, the under his hand. Ginny prepared to make the tackle, before he hurled it right to Pritchard. Ginny tried to move over in an effort to cut off Pritchard’s route to goal, but Baddock slammed into her, nearly knocking her off her broom.
“FOUL!” screamed the crowd. But Madam Hooch was distracted by a close shave with a bludger, and missed the coming together. Scowling, Ginny watched as Astoria scored well against Banks, levelling the score.
Harry groaned as Slytherin scored-as usual, it looked as though they’d gone for size rather than skill. He watched as Kane, the Slytherin beater, pelted a bludger at Ginny, who was once again speeding forward with the quaffle. She dodged it brilliantly with a sloth grip roll before passing left to Demezla. She managed to leap clean over Astoria, landing neatly back on her broom before throwing it back to Dennis, who finished with a surprisingly powerful punch.
The match then descended into the usual Gryffindor versus Slytherin way-violent. Bludgers were whacked with unbelievable venom, one coming inches away from breaking Harry’s arm. The foul count among the chasers began to rise steadily-Harry saw Ginny punch Astoria in the face and felt a swelling of pride. Astoria retaliated by scoring a clever goal, performing a nice loop to the right before slotting past banks.
“Slytherin score! That brings it to Gryffindor eighty, Slytherin fifty, with Weasley scoring five of Gryffindor’s goals,” Luna recited. “Harper’s looking very tired, perhaps he’s been stung by a blithering humdinger.” Harry rolled his eyes-he liked Luna very much, but he felt allowing her to comment on Quidditch was nothing short of madness, like asking George to be serious.
Then he saw it. A flicker of gold, glinting by the central post of Gryffindor’s goal. He flattened himself on his broom, accelerating past a hundred and fifty miles an hour, the wind blasting in his face. The snitch seemed to sense him coming and sped off, zipping towards the opposite end of the pitch. Harry pulled a tight turn, Harper still trailing in his wake. The snitch flew through the right hand goal at Slytherin’s end-if Harry had to take the time to fly round the post, he’d lose precious time.
Barely stopping to think, he kicked off the Firebolt, his momentum carrying him through the hoop.
He grabbed the cheekily hovering snitch, which seemed almost surprised by Harry’s recklessness. A feeling of incomparable delight coursed through Harry for a second, before his leg struck the post.
He felt several bones break, yelping in pain as they did. There was a terrified gasp as he began to fall, his Firebolt still flying forwards. He was fairly sure he heard Ginny scream. He did an ungraceful somersault in mid-air thanks to the hit he’d taken ruining his balance, before sticking out his left arm, managing somehow to grab his Firebolt as it shot by, his fingertips just catching the tail. He managed to scramble back onto the broom, swinging several times before looping his left leg over the broom, his right leg hanging uselessly below.
He held his right hand aloft, as the rest of the team sped towards him, cheering wildly. The Slytherin team looked thoroughly dejected as they flew gloomily back to the dressing rooms, while the Gryffindor students conducted a massive pitch invasion. Ginny hit him first, her eyes blazing madly with desire and happiness.
“You reckless, stupid, proud, heroic nutcase!” she yelled, punching him and hugging him somehow at the same time. “That was the best thing I’ve ever seen!” And she kissed him full on the mouth, bringing a fresh ride of cheers from the crowd.
“I try,” Harry grinned, his adrenaline forcing away the pain in his leg. The rest of the team hit them, interrupting their moment. Jimmy and Ritchie were cheering wildly, David was bouncing on his broom as he span in dizzying circles, singing ‘We are the champions’ by Queen. Dennis was cheering, his voice hoarse, while Demezla simply dissolved into tears, reminding Harry forcefully of Oliver Wood. They sank down in a team embrace, Harry and Ginny at the centre of it. McGonagall was striding forward; she too was sobbing as she held aloft the spectacular Quidditch cup. Madam Pomfrey hurried up to Harry, who was leaning heavily on Ginny, holding his broken leg gingerly above the ground.
“I thought ‘d seen the last of your Quidditch injuries,” she said darkly. “You’re almost as bad as your father,” she said reprovingly. Harry smiled weakly, and she shook her head in exasperation. She took out her wand. “Conte figer Curs,” she muttered, waving it. Harry felt his bones seemingly turn to liquid, before it melded neatly together. He wiggled it experimentally, before putting it down and removing his weight from Ginny.
“Together?” Ginny whispered as McGonagall offered her the cup. Harry beamed and nodded, taking a handle of the silver cup and hoisting it above their heads. There was a tumultuous, ear splitting roar from the crowd, and Harry couldn’t help but smile wildly, even adding in a few fist pumps.
And then it was gone, as Jimmy Peakes and Dennis Creevey took the cup, jumping up and down with uncontrollable excitement. Ginny wrapped her arms around Harry’s neck, kissing him again. He responded enthusiastically, and couldn’t help but think.
There was never going to be a better of time.
“Ginny,” he said softly. “I’ve waited for this moment,” he murmured. And then he dropped to one knee, squelching in the mud. He was trembling-he was wracked by nerves. But this was what he wanted...more than anything. He whipped out the small, velvet blue box he’d kept on his person for months now. He opened it-it was a simple gold ring, although it sported a rather beautiful diamond, with two little sapphires either side of it. “I love you. Will you marry me?” Her jaw dropped, tears bubbled in her eyes, and the entire stadium went silent.
“Oh Merlin’s beard,” she said softly. “Yes!” she screamed suddenly. “Yes, oh god yes!” and she threw herself at him flinging her arms around his neck again. He caught her and twirled her around, to the biggest cheer of the afternoon. Ron and Hermione watched on, beaming.
“Well, this certainly is a good moment,” Ron commented dryly.
“Nobody gets as turned on by Quidditch as those too,” Hermione sighed, shaking her head. “They’ll probably conceive their first child if Ginny goes pro.”
"Don't," replied Ron, shaking his head. "I do not need that image in my head."
"How about this one?" Hermione whispered in his ear. She muttered some instructions, and Ron's face lit up like Christmas, his Birthday and breakfast at The Burrow had all come at once.
Harry and Ginny were the last two left in the changing room, the rest of the team had left immediately for a party in the Gryffindor common room. When he strained his ears, Harry could swear he could hear it going on. He had no intention of joining it yet, however.
“You did good Potter,” said Ginny cheekily, leaning over to kiss him. “I’m very proud of you.”
“And I’m proud of you, future Mrs Potter,” he shot back, and she giggled.
“I’m going to enjoy getting used to that,” she whispered throatily, placing her hands on his chest and pushing him down to the bench, intensifying her kiss. Then there was a knock at the door.
“You have got to be kidding,” Harry muttered darkly, sitting up and readjusting his glasses, trying to tame his hair into an unsuspicious state. He noticed Ginny doing likewise, and allowed himself a small grin.
“Come in,” she called grumpily. Harry didn’t recognise the tall, well-built woman with olive skin who entered, but judging by the star struck expression on Ginny’s face, she did. “Oh my god,” she whispered.
“Hello Ginny, Harry,” she said warmly. Harry didn’t bother to ask how she knew his name. “I’m-”
“Gwenog Jones!” Ginny blurted out, before turning pink.
“That’s right,” said Gwenog, who Harry realised was the captain of Ginny’s favourite Quidditch team, the Holyhead Harpies. “I came to ask you something,” she explained. Ginny nodded numbly, crushing Harry’s fingers in a nervous grip. “I’ve been watching you play all year, and I’ve made my decision,” she said, pausing. “I’d like to offer you a place on the Harpies, as a chaser,” she finished. Ginny looked like she might faint, she was swaying slightly in Harry’s arms now.
“Oh…my…god,” she said slowly. “Yes. Yes yes yes! THANK YOU!”” she squealed in delight, regaining her composure, in a sense. Now she was like an excited, giddy child. Gwenog gave her a satisfied smile.
“Excellent, I’ll owl you in the holidays with the specifics,” she said warmly. She turned to Harry. “It’s a shame you’re a bloke, Potter. That was the best catch I’ve ever seen,” she said, offering him her hand. He shook it, grinning.
“I have a job anyway,” he assured her, grinning. "Quidditch is just too dangerous.Thanks,” he added, nodding at Ginny. “It means everything to her.” Ginny nodded fervently.
“Not a problem, my gain,” Gwenog replied. “Anyway, I heard your news, so I won’t keep you. Congratulations,” she winked, before heading off out the door. Harry turned back to Ginny, beaming.
“I can’t believe it! Me, a professional Quidditch player!” she said, looking as though she was fighting the urge to bounce up and down.
“At least one of us will be famous,” Harry joked. Ginny laughed, before running a hand through his hair.
“Now, Auror Potter, where were we?” she said seductively, pulling him down close. It took Harry and Ginny rather a long time to reach the party, much to Ron’s displeasure and Hermione’s amusement.
It was rather late when Harry and Ron staggered back into Grimmauld Place, very, very drunk.
“Hey, Harry. I must say,” slurred Ron as he dropped his coat on the floor, “that was a BRILLIANT catch.”
“I’d say it was my best,” Harry agreed, throwing off his shoes. “Bloody hurt though,” he added. Ron laughed.
“At least you didn’t swallow it,” he giggled. They flopped on the sitting room couch, and Kreacher bought them a cup of coffee each, glaring at them disapprovingly.
“That was a great catch!” Harry protested, pouting. “Hey…the box!” he said in surprise. The box he’d found in his parent’s room at Godric’s Hollow was lying open on the coffee table. “Dad must’ve charmed it to open when I was getting married,” he said softly, pulling out four letters.
If you’re reading this, then I’m no longer with you. For this, I’m sorry-I’m very disappointed to not see my Godson’s wedding. Still, I thought I’d share some advice with you-but Remus wouldn’t let me say ‘Don’t get tied down, try as many as you can.’ Can’t see why but there you go. So my actual advice is as follows.
Live everyday as though it’s your last, Harry. Don’t work too hard, don’t stress about problems that aren’t yours (which you have a habit of doing), and above all, love your wife (I’m going to say Ginny if you’re as like your father as I think) your kids, and stick by your friends. I know it seems strange, coming from me, but trust them forever. They make life worth living.
You don’t know when your freedom will be gone, Harry. Make it all worth it, and don’t miss me too much. Chances are, I’m enjoying winding your father up again.
I loved you like a son and a brother. I thought you should know.
Harry wiped a tear from his eye-his godfather cared more for him than he’d ever thought. It was emotional, even now, to see his words on paper, offering him advice like he’d done in life. He pulled out the next letter.
Unfortunately, if you’ve got this letter, then I have left you and everyone else and James’s charm has worked.
I’ll start by apologising. I tried to be the father figure you really needed after Sirius died, but I’m not sure I really managed to do him or James justice. I’m sorry.
Secondly, I’ll offer my advice, which I have no doubt is better than Sirius’s. I don’t want you to make the mistake I did-if you love a girl, like I love Dora and I know you love Ginny (who I suspect is the girl you’re marrying, again my apologies if not) then stay with her, no matter what. You’ll argue, fight and go through hell, but trust me, it’s all worth it. She’ll make you happy and you, of all people, deserve that. You gave me the best advice I’ve ever received, I thank you for it.
Hopefully, it is just me that has passed on and not Dora too. But if we have both gone on, then I hope you’ll help raise my Teddy, and be a better father figure to him than I was to you. I hope I’m not asking too much.
Even Ron looked emotional upon reading Remus’s letter. Harry regretted never telling Remus how much he’d meant to him. He regretted his argument with Remus even more, but he’d spoken to him after that, and they’d forgotten all about it.
Next, the third letter, written in a now familiar scrawl.
So you’re getting married. I can’t say much about her, since you’re currently a year old (I’ll update this when I can) but I’m sure your judgement is spot on and you’ve picked a red head, they may be fiery but they’re definitly the best.
My advice to you is this. Do everything you can for her. If you love your fiancé as much as I love your mother, I know you’d lay down your life for her. It’s not worth living if you lose her, trust me, I almost found out.
I’m sorry I won’t be there Harry. I wish I could be, I really do, but sadly, for whatever reason, I can’t be. Just remember, I shall be with you in spirit, and I’m so proud of you. I’m sure you’re the son any father would dream to have.
All my love,
The final letter had a much neater scrawl, although Harry could see some similarities to his own in certain places. He recognised it instantly, even though he’d only seen it once before.
I can’t believe it. As I write this, I’m looking at you sleeping in your crib, only as big as a loaf of bread. If you’re reading this, I’ll never see an older version of you. You’ll have grown up without me, and I’m so sorry for that.
I won’t give you advice-your father and his friends are seeing to that (May God help you), so I’ll just say I’m sorry I can’t be with you when you get married. I wish I could make it up to you, but just know that you’ll always be my little boy, no matter where I am and how old you are. I’ll love you forever, in this life and the next.
All my love,
That was it for Harry-the tears started like fountains-even Ron was teary. He patted him awkwardly on the back.
“Sorry mate,” he said softly.
“It’s fine,” Harry muttered. “I’m getting married to a perfect girl. I couldn’t be happier.” He gave a watery smile.
“Come on,” said Ron, hauling him to his feet. “Let’s go to bed. We’re going to be ill in the morning.”
Harry agreed and they heading up, Harry trying to push thoughts of all those he’d lost behind him-he was starting a new life soon, perhaps the past should stay there.
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